Blogs » J.Q. Tomanek of Victoria » Anything a man can do, a woman can do better


In search of a definition for leadership that the community generates, it is important to know the boundaries and even shatter those boundaries if they are based on discrimination of any sort. Of course a leader must discriminate, in fact, he seems to have to be a very good discriminator. If we use the image of the children's line at school, he must know when to go, turn, stop, and keep a good pace. That is proper discrimination. However, some take the discrimination too far and apply it to the color of skin, nationality, sexual orientation, sex, etc.

In the study of women's leadership, the term "glass ceiling" is very often found. The fact that it exists can somewhat be explained naturally given women have recently entered the work force, are the sex that gives birth and usually stay home with sick children (this is found in studies), etc. The rise of incredible women leaders is not something new. History is full of women leadership and credit is even given to women for a man's leadership practice for the saying goes, "Behind every great man is a great woman." Even though this saying is more recent and was the slogan of the feminist movement, it seems to be very accurate historically.

Of course, men and women are different by nature so there will be somethings that a woman cannot do better than a man and somethings that man cannot do better than a woman. However, creating a definition to find the best leader, it should definitely not discriminate against half the population. I know this sounds like common sense, but I have found it has seldom been applied common sense. Let me give an example of what I mean somewhat outside women leadership. At least as of a few years ago, about 58% of the Fortune 500 companies were led by people just about six feet tall. The author mentioned, only 14.5% of the US popluation is this tall. The stats for 6'2" is even more striking, something like 30% of CEOs are six foot two that is supplied from the 3.9% of the population that is this tall. It would be strange to say that height is a good indicator of good leadership, but it seems to be applied practice in choice of position leaders given the statistics.

One of many things I have found common among women and that they seem to do better than men is the level of their emotional intelligence. Many books are written about the need for the right tools to get a job done and leader must be able to provide these tools for execution. Without emotional intelligence, a leader is missing an important tool in the leadership toolbox or purse.

Should a leadership definition discriminate based on sex? Does your definition fit the possibility to include women and men without discrimination? If the leadership definition does not dicriminate based on sex, why do you think there are so few women chosen for leadership positions?

n.b. I realize this post on leadership was geared toward leaders in position of power or authority, I don't think a person must be in a position of power to be a leader. More on this later.